Published on May 19, 2021
A bill in the Tennessee legislature that would establish a program to identify uninsured motor vehicles will not be reintroduced until the 2022 legislative session, dealing a blow to Rekor Systems (REKR), which hopes to contract with the state for the new program.
The bill is currently scheduled for the legislature’s summer study.
“The summer study will allow for all stakeholders, departments, and the administration to weigh in and see if we can come up with a compromise for the legislation,” said Dawson Hassler, a legislative assistant to Senator Paul Bailey, who sponsored the bill in the state Senate.
Currently, data on uninsured vehicle owners in Tennessee is collected by insurance companies and sent to the Tennessee Department of Revenue every few months, said Theo Vallas, a legislative assistant to Representative Charlie Baum, who sponsored the corresponding bill in the state House of Representatives.
“It’s a good thing they [Tennessee legislators] want to study it because it gives us more time to answer questions,” said Charlie Degliomini, Executive Vice President of Government Relations and Corporate Communications at Rekor, in a statement to The Capitol Forum, “It’s a benefit actually.”
“It’s not atypical for bills to be considered over multiple sessions,” Degliomini continued. “It doesn’t happen immediately.”
Rekor has been a registered lobbyist in Tennessee since July 13, 2020 and has donated between $25,000 and $50,000, as of February 17, 2021.
The Tennessee bill, like other similar bills across the country, is modeled on a statewide initiative in Oklahoma that established an Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion (UVED) program with Rekor to identify uninsured motor vehicles using automated license plate readers. However, there has been a groundswell of opposition nationally to automated traffic enforcement programs over the last several years, and similar pieces of UVED legislation in the Texas and Florida legislatures did not pass this year.
Rekor’s contract with Oklahoma’s UVED program is intended to serve as a template for expansion into other states, according to Rekor’s SEC filings. Under the terms of the contract, which The
Capitol Forum obtained via a public records request, Rekor receives $43 for each motorist who signs up for the state’s $174 UVED enrollment program, with the other $131 going to the state.
That $43 payment “is effective for the initial contract year . . . and all four (4) subsequent one-year options and is inclusive of all travel, equipment, and overhead expenses to be incurred by Rekor in supporting the UVED program,” according to the contract.
While the company may be facing delays in other states, Amanda Arnall Couch, the Oklahoma UVED program director, said that they “absolutely intend to renew” Rekor’s contract at the end of the year.
“I could not say enough wonderful things about Rekor,” Arnall Couch said.